After a long string of weekend snowstorms, the weather finally cooperated today, and I headed north to Anchorage to the UU fellowship. It was wonderful to see the faces of friends, after a long stretch of only connecting online.
Blue skies and sunlight also lifted my mood. On the way home, I slid the cover back on the sunroof, letting in as much light as possible.
The Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood runs along the Turnagain Arm (pictured above). It’s an incredibly beautiful drive, no matter the weather. Even when it’s gray and gloomy, there’s a moody quality that’s spectacular in its own way.
But today the sun was out, and everything sparkled with light.
Until I got to Girdwood. As I turned left onto Alyeska Highway, away from the water and into the valley, I pulled under cloud cover, and blue skies turned gray.
It’s like that a lot. Sun along the Arm & in Anchorage, clouds and precipitation here in Girdwood. It is a rainforest, after all.
But I could feel in my body how the light felt––and then the absence of light.
It’s been a snowier-than-usual winter. Even in Anchorage they’re approaching the record. Here in Girdwood, the resort reports that we’ve had 734.9 inches of snow since the beginning of October.
Obviously, when it snows, there are no blue skies and sunshine (well, usually).
So how do we cope? Frankly, there are moments when I have to admit that I don’t cope very well at all.
But today, this is how I feel about it: Life in Alaska is hard on the soul, like sandpaper on wood. Just as sandpaper is abrasive, but leaves a beautifully smooth surface, so Alaska abrades and shapes the soul, exposes its grain, lays bare its beauty.
(Photo by Alaskan Dude, used under a Creative Commons attribution license)